The Great White Throne
Pastor Steve Ellison
Who is it that will stand before the Almighty at the Great White Throne judgment? Scholars are divided on the answer and with good reason. The Bible does not definitively answer it. I will examine the question realizing that no matter where I stand, it will be easy to disagree with me.
As I read Revelation 20:11-15, I see no mention of anything that even remotely resembles anything that would apply to any child of God. Revelation 20:4 and other Scriptures speak of multiple thrones. Thus, it seems that different groups will appear before the different thrones at different times with different purposes. Revelation 20:5-6 declares, “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” NASU It seems to me that Revelation 20:11-15 refers to a second event at which those mentioned in Revelation 20:5-6 will not be present.
It seems logical to me that when God referred to the dead as both “great and small” without making a reference to “good or bad” or some other similar designation, He did it with a reason. It seems reasonable that if God had simply said the dead would appear at the Great White Throne then He would have meant all the dead. If He was going to be specific about which dead, then He would have indicated each group that He meant. It appears to me that God wanted us to see that He meant all the unsaved, regardless of their earthly status. He might have also been indicating that all those who died without Christ were included regardless of their level of sinfulness. Thus it seems to me that only the unsaved will stand before this throne.
Much remains a mystery. Perhaps believers will be there just as observers. Maybe seeing the condemnation and sentencing of the lost would add to an ever increasing gratitude by believers toward their Savior. Perhaps believers will be present for the unbelievers to see. Seeing sinful men declared righteous on the basis of believing in what they themselves had rejected should certainly add to the anguish of the unrighteous unbelievers. Perhaps believers will be there for the purpose of “being judged innocent”. Obviously, they are not innocent on their own merits but on the merits of the Christ. Perhaps believers will be present to provide a reason for a reading of the names found in the Book of Life. The reading would give evidence to the unbelievers that their names were indeed not found in the book.
Much of Revelation remains mysterious to me. I plead ignorance and freely confess that I have far more questions than answers. My head swims but I know this one thing: God rules and reigns in His own way whether I understand it or not. The purpose of the book of Revelation is not so that I will understand end time events. I am quite sure that is of zero consequence to Almighty God. The purpose of Revelation is to reveal Christ. I see a holy and righteous Judge who will finally administer long overdue justice. He is to be praised because of the mercy and grace that is freely available here and now so that judgment and sentencing can be avoided then. …….….firstname.lastname@example.org